My mom used to sing a song which said:
Let me see this world, dear Lord, as though I were looking through Your eyes
A world of men who don’t want You, Lord, but a world for which You died
I’ve not heard that song for years but it comes back to me from time to time. How would I treat people differently if I could see them through God’s eyes?
I find that the people who come across as the most arrogant are often the most insecure. Those who are mean are usually very lonely. It’s easy to think they’ve done that to themselves, and I’m sure some have but I expect that some use meanness in order to keep themselves from getting hurt, which has probably happened to them in the past.
As God told Samuel, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Do you try to see into people’s hearts or do you judge them by how they appear externally?
As you go through this week, I challenge you to bear with people. You might have an opportunity to show love to someone who is hurting but would never admit it. Don’t be so focused on yourself that you miss what God desires to do in and through you. And, even if someone is being mean to you because he or she is a mean person, this may be a good time to practice heaping “burning coals on his head” (Romans 12:20).
My goal this year is to remind all of us to walk as Jesus walked and to obey His commands. There are so many things in the Bible that are easy to lose sight of in the midst of trials and conflict. I need these reminders too so, if you see a theme running through my posts this year, that is why.
6. It is opposed to sinking discouragements. God would have us to depend on Him though we do not see how the thing may be brought about; otherwise, we do not show a quiet spirit.
7. It is opposed to sinful shiftings and shirkings to get relief and help. Thus do many, through the corruption of their hearts and the weakness of their faith, because they are not able to trust God and follow Him fully in all things and always. For this reason, the Lord often follows the saints with many sore temporal crosses as we see in the case of Jacob, though they obtain the mercy. It may be that your carnal heart thinks, “I do not care how I am delivered, if only I may be freed from it.” Your hearts are far from being quiet!
8. The last thing that quietness of spirit is the opposite of is desperate risings of the heart against God by way of rebellion. That is the most abominable. They find in their hearts something of a rising against God. Their thoughts begin to bubble, and their affections begin to move in rebellion against God Himself. This is especially the case with those, who besides their corruptions, have a large measure of melancholy. The devil works both upon the corruptions of their hearts and the melancholy disease of their bodies. Now Christian quietness is opposed to all these things. When affliction comes, whatever it is, you do not murmur or repine, you do not fret or vex yourself.
–by Jeremiah Burroughs
We have used this video before about 3 years ago, but I feel compelled to share it again. Our family watched “God’s Not Dead 2” last night and found it to be a blessing. However, one aspect that stood out to me is the reality that persecution is coming, and it is coming sooner than we hope and think that it will come. To follow after Christ though requires that we are willing to understand that ultimately it will cost us everything.
But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles (Matthew 5:39-41).
I love the Sermon on the Mount, as this is where Jesus taught His followers to not merely obey the law but to go the extra mile in serving God, experiencing life with Him instead of just doing the bare minimum (the Pharisee way).
Although the Bible is the guideline for every true Believer, the above verses are ones I never hear taught. I hear more people who are concerned about being taken advantage of, and whose focus is on defending themselves and their “rights.”
Jesus went on to say:
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:46).
I agree that evildoers should be punished, and Scripture affirms that, but Jesus taught us to go the extra mile in order to live at peace as much as possible and to love those who do us wrong.
Maybe part of the problem is that we think of love as warm, fuzzy feelings toward a person when, in reality, love is something that comes from the heart. It is refusing to be angry and bitter no matter how much of a right you have to be so.
I realize this is easier said than done, but this is where the Holy Spirit comes in. James 5:16 tells us that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” I am testimony to the fact that, if you desire desperately to have a clean heart toward someone who has wronged you, God will answer that prayer.
My bottom line is this: Do you respond to situations like Jesus would? There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There may be a time to defend yourself, but I believe that it’s often pride that causes our flesh to become defensive and retaliate. We need to stand for truth, but our focus should be on Christ and glorifying Him. If that is not your motive, pray for wisdom before you do anything other than what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
I don’t know what your first thought was when you saw the title to this post, but my emphasis is going to be on two small, but very powerful words: in love.
We live in a world where people are willing, and often way too eager, to give their opinions on things. Gone are the days when people would weigh their words and find a way to be gracious toward others (at least to their face).
Although there is a need for honesty in a time where it’s near impossible to know who to trust, many forget that, if they don’t have love, they are merely a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13). If something needs to be said, there is a way to say it, and that way is with grace and humility.
One could argue that Jesus was not always graceful when He confronted sin, but I don’t feel like this gives us the right to get in people’s face, tear them down, call them names, etc. Jesus taught His disciples to love each other and to think of others as better than themselves. If you truly believe that the person you are confronting is better than you, you will consider your words carefully before you say them.
People are more likely to receive a rebuke if they know you love them and truly care about them. If you are more concerned with being right than you are about the other person being right with God, then hold your tongue and do not attempt to address the issue. More often than not, you will just make things worse, and they may harden their heart even further and never repent.
I see this in doctrinal debate too. I love being around people who are strong in their faith and know what they believe, but some have a hard time having strong beliefs without condemning those who have different beliefs. Within the Church, there are different callings, gifts, and, yes, even doctrines. Just because someone believes differently than you do does not mean they do not love Jesus. If you are a true Believer, you are most likely at a different place in your spiritual walk than you were ten years ago. We should all be constantly learning and growing, so learn to bear with those who are at a different place than you are.
In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that we would be one, just as He and the Father are one, but that unity will not come by fighting each other. You are responsible to study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) and to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you (1 Peter 3:15), but there is a way to do those things, and the answer is lovingly.
I leave you with these words from the apostle Paul: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6). That is my prayer for all of us. Don’t let the enemy use you to bring strife and division among God’s people. Instead, encourage each other to love and good works and, if rebuke is necessary, ask God to help you to do it in love.
There will be no deception at the last day. The unerring eye of God will discern who are His own people, and who are not. Nothing but true faith shall abide the fire of His judgment. All spurious Christianity shall be weighed in the balance and found lacking. None but true believers shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It shall avail the hypocrite nothing that he has been a loud talker about religion, and had the reputation of being an eminent Christian among men. His triumphing shall be but for a moment. He shall be stripped of all his borrowed plumage, and stand naked and shivering before the bar of God, speechless, self-condemned, hopeless, and helpless. He shall be cast into outer darkness with shame, and reap according as he has sown.
– J. C. Ryle
1816 – 1900
Several years ago, my wife took up the job of organizing the library of the church we were members of. She found some material that looked questionable and asked me to help her figure out which authors should be put in the closet on the “heresy shelf”.
I spent several weeks reading books and researching popular authors and developed a “cheat sheet” of false teachers and a sample of the heresy they taught. Below is a screen shot, the file (6 pages) can be downloaded here.
While I hope this is useful, please note that it is not up to date – some of the newer false teachers this site has brought to light are not included. But the people on this list are behind most of the folks now popular that we should be aware of.
Be on your guard, for the deceiver prowls around like a lion looking for his next meal. A little leaven leavens the whole lump – so do not buy the lie that you should “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” Test everything – hold to that which is good. When you determine a man (or a woman) to be a false teacher, from such, turn away.
The new-paradigm church is offering a purely commercialized, yuppie brand of Christianity found nowhere in the New Testament. . . . Is a person coming to Christ in order to bolster her self-esteem or experience a great thrill, truly born again? If [average church goer] Mary does not clearly understand that the real issue on the table is her personal sinfulness that has offended a holy and righteous God, does she understand the gospel at all? If she believes that Christ died on the cross to save her from a poor self-image in order to give her a fulfilling life brimming with excitement, has she not been presented with a gospel so hopelessly muddled that the true gospel is still a mystery to her? Can such a person, who so totally misunderstands the purpose and nature of Calvary, be saved, even though she has prayed the “sinner’s prayer?” From my understanding of the true gospel I would have to say probably not. And if a multitude of these kinds of Marys are now flooding into the local church, what kind of church is being created?
– Gary Gilley
The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.
– Matthew Henry
1662 – 1714
Why don’t our works work? . . . God simply won’t allow anyone to make Him a debtor. . . . In other words, God will not permit a man to believe that He owes him salvation in exchange for his rule-keeping. Salvation must be by grace alone–the free gift of God. No matter what kind of rule-keeping you involve yourself in, whether religious ceremonies and rites, or deeds of charity and sacrifice, God cannot be made to owe you salvation in return. Salvation is not God’s obligation; it is His gift. . . . God will never reward the effort you exert to save yourself. He will not let you make the cross a meaningless act. He will not obligate Himself to save you because you do what you believe are good works.
– Jim Elliff
Anyone who is involved in personal evangelism can share countless examples of persons who, though presently living in gross sin, will nonetheless tell the evangelist that they are fine because they “made a decision for Christ” a certain number of years ago. They have never had any change in their life; they have no interest in church, the Bible, or even God. But they have made their “decision.” Can we not see how dangerous such a system is to the souls of men?